February 4, 2005

Sherwood Boehlert backtracks yet again on Social Security

Congressman Boehlert's position on Social Security seems to have evolved yet again, as he's written Josh Marshall to protest that his cheerleading of the President's Social Security proposals in the State of the Union address doesn't mean that he actually supports the President's plan:

Enjoyed your clever and off-times amusing comments. But shame on you for taking anyone to task for talking about our "responsibility to debate all proposals from top to bottom."

My commitment is not to a specific course of action at this juncture other than to acknowledge a future problem and a determination to get going toward the development of a solution. Don't count me out yet!

I think it's fair to say that the Congressman is spinning at this point, in many different ways and directions. Maybe he'll give me a straight answer when he replies to my letter, but I can't say I'm counting on it.

Update: Heck, maybe the Club For Growth's going after him made him feel free to keep changing whatever direction he felt. They describe him as an "undecided Republican," which seems like a good description at this point. (From Josh Marshall, again.)

And: There's an article in the Utica paper about the Club for Growth ads targeting Boehlert. In a summary of his position(s), it reaches back to a January 18th quote where Boehlert suggested opposition:

Boehlert believes Bush is right to move now to strengthen the Social Security system. But the congressman says he wants to see more details about the personal savings accounts, which would allow people to invest a portion of the taxes they pay into Social Security. He fears that the diversion of funds to private accounts could lead to cuts in Social Security benefits.

"I don't want to engage in a crapshoot with people's benefits," Boehlert said Jan. 18. "The whole scheme of privatization deserves exactly what it is going to get: a full and open airing."

Boehlert's spokesman, Sam Marchio, reports that "This is an issue that the congressman wants to hear from both sides on." Newsday reports on the Congressman's fluctuations, writing that:

Boehlert voiced skepticism last month about the idea of private investor accounts, saying he didn't want to "gamble" with Social Security.

After President Bush's State of the Union address this week, Boehlert's tone was far different, saying he "couldn't agree more" with the president's push for changes, though Congress still needs to review all the details of the proposal.

His spokesman, Sam Marchio, declined to comment Friday on the TV ads, but said the congressman "applauds the president for placing Social Security reform at the top of his agenda, and agrees that we need to strengthen Social Security now rather than later."

We'll see.

Posted by simon at February 4, 2005 1:29 PM in
Note on photos